Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies Medieval Studies

Brian Ruppert

Associate Professor of Medieval Studies and Center for East Asian and Pacific Studies

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Contact Information:

  • Address:
    East Asian Lang/Cult 2014-a Foreign Lang 608 S. Mathews M/C 146 Urbana, IL 61801
  • Telephone: (217)244-4012
  • Email:


Brian Ruppert, PhD (Princeton U.), Associate Professor in the Departmentof East Asian Languages and Cultures and Department of Religion, University ofIllinois, is author of "Jewel in the Ashes: Buddha Relics and Power in Early Medieval Japan (Harvard UP, 2000), "Buddhism in Japan" (Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd ed., Macmillan, 2005), co-author of the forthcoming ACultural History of Japanese Buddhism, author of “Buddhism and Law inJapan” (forthcoming, in Buddhism and Law:An Introduction, Cambridge UP, 2014), and completing book manuscripts on indebtedness in medieval Japanese Buddhism as well as the history of sacred works (shōgyō) in Japanese Buddhism. Professor Ruppert has also organized and hosted three major international symposia in 2010 and 2013 on themes concerning Religion and Performance in East Asia (focus on Japan; Oct. 2010, Oct. 2013) and Religion between Monastic and Laity in Medieval Japan (March 2010).

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Buddhist practice and cultural life in Japan; Discourses of indebtedness in Premodern Japanese Buddhism; Religion and politics in Japan; Buddhist Writing and Learning Practices in Pre-modern Japan


  • Ph.D. in Religion, Princeton University, 1996

Distinctions / Awards

  • Affiliation: Historiographical Institute, The University of Tokyo International Research Center for Japanese Studies (Kokusai Nihon Bunka Kenkyū Sentaa = Nichibunken) Visiting Research Scholar Fellowship, 2007-2008
  • Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2001-2002.



  • Jewel in the Ashes: Buddha Relics and Power in Early Medieval Japan. Harvard University Asia Center monograph series 188.. . Cambridge: Harvard University Asia Center; Harvard University Press, 2000.

Book Contributions

  • "Royal Progresses to Shrines: Cloistered Sovereign, Tennō, and the Sacred Sites of Early Medieval Japan." Cahiers D’Extreme-Asie Special Issue, "Rethinking Medieval Shinto.". . Paris: Cahiers D’Extreme-Asie, 2010. 183-202.

  • "“Mokuroku ni miru chūsei shingon mikkyō no shōgyō: sono denpa to hensen” (On Seeing the Sacred Works of Medieval Shingon Esoteric Buddhism through Catalogs—Their Transmission and Permutations) ." Research Report. . Ed. Abe Yasurō. Nagoya: Nagoya University, College of Letters, 2009. 24-34.

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